The misunderstanding of the verse “God disciplines those whom He loves” has turned Christians into sadomasochists and God into their schoolmaster of pain.
~ Mike Myers
Mike Myers has nailed it again. We know that the Bible is like a mirror reflection – those who are judgment-minded will read this verse and think it is talking about punishment and formulate all kinds of theories to support their literal interpretations, to justify their acts of violence and abuse.
Yet the context of Hebrews 12 is talking about looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of faith, and how the gospel of grace can seem painful to the human ego that is performance-oriented. The Jews were preoccupied with keeping the laws and making sacrifices to become righteous and earn favour. Therefore, to be told that they are accepted on the basis of God’s grace instead of their performance is like being “disciplined” as it means they need to die to their ego or their old self or false identity and embrace their true, divine identity. It is unfortunate that this verse has been misunderstood and taken out of context by those who subscribe to religious fundamentalism.